Life is just a bowl of cherries…complete with pits

4 Aug

by Jessica Roy

cherry clafoutis

cherry clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis, for those of you who’ve never had the joy of eating some, is a French,
 not too sweet, puddingish dessert that is summer’s answer to winter’s fruit cobblers.
Usually I follow a super easy recipe that calls for sour cream and ricotta resulting in
 something that is more like a cheesecake. While this is quite yummy it is not very 
traditional.

This time around, I used a more standard recipe from The Essential Mediterranean
 Cookbook, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. It has never let me down and the
 photos are designed to drive your appetite absolutely wild. On this occasion, however,
 it evilly had me pitting 1 lb of fresh cherries by hand. It turns out that there is really no 
need for this. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. I’m pleased to report what various internet
 sources confirm; that the fine folk of Limousin (who happily invented this dessert) bake
 their cherries pits-in. They claim that this laissez-faire method actually adds a subtle
 almond like flavour. This appeals to me on so many levels. First, it’s authentic. Secondly,
it’s simple. Pitting cherries is a stain making, painstaking task I’d rather avoid. You
 can buy a weird little cherry pitting device but honestly, who needs another piece of
 equipment cluttering up their kitchen drawers waiting for the one day a year you might
 actually use it to pit some cherries? Not me. When it comes to clafoutis, I’m pits-in all
 the way.

Pits weren’t my only problem though. As this was a late night emergency dessert 
situation, I found myself low on staples and having to make a few questionable
 substitutions, such as whole wheat for regular flour* and soy milk for cow’s. Plus,
there was no thick cream and no suitable thick cream substitute on hand. I know, not
 very French. It wasn’t a total clafoutis fail though. In fact, it was really so very good.
 It was a little denser and heavier than usual (think bread pudding) but, still good.
 Also, the bing cherries were dark, plump and sweet, which helped. As for the much-
anticipated almond flavour, well, it was incredibly subtle but totally worth spitting pits 
for.

Also, if you’re like me, you’ll be singing this song the whole time you’re making cherry 
clafoutis. Fair warning.

*Epicurious suggests you blend almonds into your flour! Just thought everyone should
 know about that.

Check out Jessica’s bio on the Contributors page.

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One Response to “Life is just a bowl of cherries…complete with pits”

  1. Alex August 5, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    One of my earliest memories of summers in England with my dad’s family is of eating cherries at high tea (and being worried about staining something).

    I will have to try clafoutis!

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